Through the first three games of at least one series, we’re finally seeing a match where home ice advantage seems to really matter. Unless, of course, it’s a coincidence. Whether it’s home cooking or just increased urgency, the Montreal Canadiens flipped the script in just about every way against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 3.
Montreal Canadiens 5, Philadelphia Flyers 1
Flyers lead series 2-1
It was a game of firsts. The Habs finally scored their first goal (plus four more) against Flyers goalie Michael Leighton. Montreal’s powerplay scored its first goal of the series, even if it happened on a meaningless late game 5-on-3, their second two man advantage of the game. The Flyers allegedly had their first fight of the playoffs, which is mind-blowing since … you know, this is the Flyers. Finally, Montreal won their first game in which they out-shot their opponent (a Versus graphic indicates that they were 0-8 before tonight).
Somehow, though, Jaroslav Halak still lacks a postseason shutout. The still red-hot Simon Gagne scored an impressive, almost video game-like turnaround shot to ruin Halak’s goose egg attempt. My guess is that the Slovakian netminder is just fine with that since he only allowed one goal on 26 shots while his counterpart Leighton was bludgeoned for 5 on 38.
Don’t pin the blame on Leighton, though. The Flyers were out-shot and outplayed in every period. Chris Pronger had an ugly -3 game and his terrible turnover was responsible for Tom Pyatt’s game-winner. There was no doubt which team needed to win Game 3 as the Canadiens absolutely blew them out of their building.
The Habs are not strangers to coming back from series deficits as they’ve been down 2 games in every series so far. The Flyers are accustomed to their fair share of adversity, too, so don’t count either team out. Simply put, we have a series again. It should be interesting to see which team responds in Game 4, which by the way, will be carried by NBC on Saturday starting at 3 PM ET. Make sure to join us for a Live Chat and plenty of great coverage.
The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade speculation may have died down since it peaked at the draft in late June, but it’s not entirely dead.
The 23-year-old former first overall draft pick was asked to address the ongoing rumors Monday at an Oilers charity golf tournament.
“I try not to pay attention too much,” Nugent-Hopkins said, per the Edmonton Journal. “If it happens, it happens. I know it’s definitely a different group than the one we finished with last season.”
Indeed it is. Most notably, Taylor Hall is in New Jersey now, traded for defenseman Adam Larsson. The Oilers also signed Milan Lucic and drafted Jesse Puljujarvi.
What’s still lacking is an offensive defenseman who can run the power play, which is why the names Tyson Barrie (Avalanche) and Matt Dumba (Wild) have been floated as potential targets.
The Wild in particular could use a good, young center like Nugent-Hopkins, and the expansion draft is looming for a Minnesota club that already has defensemen Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, and Marco Scandella locked up in long-term contracts.
Barrie, meanwhile, has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday.
Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk is another name that’s come up; however, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season, and whether he’d re-sign in Edmonton is in doubt.
Chalk up another arbitration hearing that won’t be required. This time it’s Brandon Manning‘s. The 26-year-old defenseman has agreed on a two-year, $1.95 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, according to CSN Philly.
Manning’s hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday. He was the last restricted free agent on the Flyers, after Brayden Schenn re-signed Monday.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the Manning signing.
Manning played 56 games for the Flyers in 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL. He had one goal and six assists while logging an average ice time of 16:32.
The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly parting ways with defenseman David Rundblad. The two sides have agreed to a contract termination, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rundblad, 25, was set to earn $1.1 million this season, per General Fanager. His cap hit was $1.05 million, meaning the ‘Hawks will gain $100,000 in cap space by not having to bury his contract in the AHL next season.
Rundblad was unlikely to make the Blackhawks in 2016-17 — not after the additions of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, and also the re-signing of Michal Rozsival.
It remains to be seen where Rundblad will end up. One possibility is back in Switzerland, where he spent part of last season before dressing three times for the ‘Hawks in the playoffs.
Darryl Sydor, after being let go by the Minnesota Wild, has joined the Chicago Wolves as an assistant coach.
The St. Louis Blues, the parent club of the AHL Wolves, made the announcement Monday. It was also announced that former NHLer Daniel Tkaczuk would join Sydor as an assistant on new head coach Craig Berube’s staff.
Sydor, who won two Stanley Cups as a defenseman, spent five years as an assistant on Mike Yeo’s staff in Minnesota. His time with the Wild was marred by an arrest in 2015 for drunk driving. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and sought treatment.
“I know now that alcoholism is a disease and I’m powerless over alcohol,” he told Kamloops This Week in January. “I can never have a drink again and I’m fine with that.”